COVID vaccine won’t be immediate savior for retailers, malls

By Lee Cleveland, Polls and Trends - January 28, 2021

The scars of the pandemic will remain for some time, even after it ends.

Per a study released yesterday by First Insight, 60 percent of respondents insisted that spikes in Covid-19 across the country are deterring them from shopping in stores.

And unfortunately, via the same study, many Americans say their shopping habits won’t change post-immunization.

No, they won’t be crowding malls or returning in droves to large retailers’ stores to shop for clothes and shoes. And they won’t be jamming theatres either.

For clothes shopping, 40 percent of consumers say they’ll frequent apparel retailers the same or less after being vaccinated while 45% said they would visit stores the same or less for beauty products.

For luxury items and electronics, 41 and 43 percent concurred on the same details.

And about 33 percent of respondents said they were either unsure about receiving a Covid-19 vaccine at all or will not get it, First Insight found.

Polls and Trends Takeaway: Americans will not immediately return to normalcy after getting vaccinated. As a result, malls and large retailers will experience challenging times until at least the end of 2021 if not longer.

The above data is also not a good sign for restaurateurs and could mean the economy will be in the gutter for at least the rest of the year.

“No. 1, not everyone feels comfortable getting vaccinated,” said First Insight founder and CEO Greg Petro via CNBC.

“No. 2, most people are not going to rush into stores after getting vaccinated. … It’s going to take a long time for people to get really comfortable and reacclimated to the way the world was. And so you can count on 2021 looking very similar to 2020.”

Large retailers, and shopping malls in general, have been hit hard by the change in consumer shopping and buying habits since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020. So, expect companies like Macy’s and American Eagle to continue close stores due to a) consumers’ low financial confidence and b) the public’s presumed uneasiness about getting back out to shop even after most have been vaccinated.

Shopping malls
The demise of the shopping mall concept started prior to the pandemic and will undoubtedly be accelerated by it.

Because of the social restrictions implemented during the COVID-19 rife, people are not only learning to shop online, they are also finding new ways to watch movies and entertain themselves, increasing their reliance on outlets such as Netflix, Red Box, video games, social media, video chat, dating apps, and general texting.

People are also becoming acclimated with take-out meals and curbside pick-up and are thus less enthusiastic about in-store dining visits.

Prior to 2020, experts believed that about 33% of America’s malls would shut down by 2030. But now, some experts have gone on record insisting that will happen by the end of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Source CNBC

Bright side
If there’s a bright side to any of this, COVID-19 is being taken seriously by most Americans. And long term, that’ll not only save lives but help us return to normalcy sooner.

In the same poll, conducted by First Insight, more than half, or 53 percent, of respondents said they’ll continue to wear a face mask in stores after being vaccinated.

Tags: Covid-19, shopping malls


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